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The natural axis of transmitter receptor distribution in the human cerebral cortex

Goulas, Alexandros; Changeux, Jean-Pierre; Wagstyl, Konrad; Amunts, Katrin; Palomero-Gallagher, Nicola; Hilgetag, Claus C; (2021) The natural axis of transmitter receptor distribution in the human cerebral cortex. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America , 118 (3) , Article e2020574118. 10.1073/pnas.2020574118. Green open access

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Abstract

Transmitter receptors constitute a key component of the molecular machinery for intercellular communication in the brain. Recent efforts have mapped the density of diverse transmitter receptors across the human cerebral cortex with an unprecedented level of detail. Here, we distill these observations into key organizational principles. We demonstrate that receptor densities form a natural axis in the human cerebral cortex, reflecting decreases in differentiation at the level of laminar organization and a sensory-to-association axis at the functional level. Along this natural axis, key organizational principles are discerned: progressive molecular diversity (increase of the diversity of receptor density); excitation/inhibition (increase of the ratio of excitatory-to-inhibitory receptor density); and mirrored, orderly changes of the density of ionotropic and metabotropic receptors. The uncovered natural axis formed by the distribution of receptors aligns with the axis that is formed by other dimensions of cortical organization, such as the myelo- and cytoarchitectonic levels. Therefore, the uncovered natural axis constitutes a unifying organizational feature linking multiple dimensions of the cerebral cortex, thus bringing order to the heterogeneity of cortical organization.

Type: Article
Title: The natural axis of transmitter receptor distribution in the human cerebral cortex
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2020574118
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2020574118
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2021 the Author(s). Published by PNAS. This open access article is distributed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License 4.0 (CC BY-NC-ND) (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).
Keywords: cortical organization, unifying principles, molecular diversity
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology > Imaging Neuroscience
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10148281
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